One of America's Favorite Society Pianists
"Mintun is the living incarnation of the fabulous keyboard wizards of the jazz age."
- Will Friedwald, The New York Sun
PETER MINTUN began a career in music when he taught himself to play the piano by ear at the age of three. There exist photographs of him from that period seated at the family piano poised to play, proving that he was a musician as well as a showman, knowing exactly when to seize the perfect photo opportunity. Since then he has played everywhere, been photographed with everyone, and has become one of today's most sought after and respected society pianists.
Born into a musical household in Berkeley, California, one of four children, he grew up playing for parties, musical shows, ballroom dancing schools, and silent films at museums and colleges. Early on his leanings to the music of the 1920s and 30s caused him to reject the fashion of his contemporary time and to develop into one of today's leading interpreters of popular music written between the two World Wars - those vintage melodies with such classic style that they, in Mintun's words, "transcend time."
For more than twenty-five years Peter Mintun's name has been synonymous with American Society. He has performed with symphony orchestras, with his own society dance orchestra, and has entertained royalty, film and stage stars, heads of industry, and composers themselves.
Peter Mintun's piano playing has graced such rooms as L'Etoile in the Huntington Hotel, Masons in The Fairmont, the Madison Room of The New York Palace Hotel, and Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle.
Among Peter Mintun's ever-expanding activities have been the release of four CD recordings: "Deep Purple," "Grand Piano," Peter Mintun Piano at The Paramount," and "Yours for a Song - Here's to the Ladies." In March of 1998 he participated in the Gershwin Centennial symposium at The Library of Congress discussing the music and career of Dana Suesse, and appeared on WNET's American Masters series in the program "Yours For A Song -- The Women of Tin Pan Alley." Later that year he performed with Joan Morris and William Bolcom on National Public Radio in a program profiling women composers taped live in The Oak Room at The Algonquin Hotel. Peter Mintun has appeared in concert at New York's Film Forum, Town Hall, and the National Arts Club. In February of 2000 he joined Barbara Carroll and Michael Feinstein performing in the "Michael Feinstein and Friends" series at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Each year, since 1994, he has lead his own "Peter Mintun Orchestra" at the San Francisco Symphony's New Year's Eve Gala at Davies Symphony Hall.
Last year Peter Mintun performed for a six-month engagement at The Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia inaugurating their newly decorated Old White Lounge, designed by Carlton Varney. In January he returned to entertain New York audiences appearing with Steve Ross at The Stanhope Hotel for a special two week duo piano engagement.###
Notes from Piano Styles of Peter Mintun
by Grover Sales, film and drama critic in the San Francisco area.
The center of a cult of pianists, musical theatre lovers and nostalgiacs, Peter Mintun is some miracle who emerged from a time capsule encased in the basement of an ultra fashionable speakeasy of the Twenties. His slender, pale good looks suggest a silent movie idol like Richard Barthelmess. An antique silver Waterman's fountain pen is clipped discreetly inside his flawless tailor-made dinner jacket, complete with high wing collar and white carnation. Like everything about Peter, the carnation is genuine. His accoutrements are part an parcel of an artist who has immersed himself in the unhappily forgotten music of the 'Twenties and 'Thirties, when the piano was as common in the home as the telephone is today.
It's a continuing source of wonder how a young man could absorb such a wealth of bygone musical treasure: The ragtime of Scott Joplin, the rousing Harlem stride of "Fats" Waller, the obscure show tunes of Gershwin and Noël Coward, the early hits of Ellington, and most of all, that legacy of piano vignettes, the tiny overlooked gems from the pens of Dana Suesse (Serenade To A Skyscraper, Blue Moonlight). Adam Carroll (Nanette), Rube Bloom (Soliloquy) "Zez" Confrey (Kitten On The Keys), and the mythic Bix Beiderbecke (In A Mist).
But Peter is no mere research scholar or musicologist. His feathery-but-firm touch is among the most masterful in the business, combining incredible delicacy of nuance and shading with a pulsing, swinging beat. His tapering hands, seemingly carved from Ivory Soap, glide effortlessly through one dazzling keyboard showpiece after another. His engaging manner goes hand-in-glove with his piano prowess as he banters easily with listeners, answers out of the way requests for Arlen and Rodgers & Hart, recounts anecdotes of legendary piano greats.
Peter Mintun is an extraordinary talent devoted to a grand tradition that's fast becoming an endangered species. Music for all occasions, backgrounds for dinner, cocktails or partying, but mainly as serious listening for anyone who loves American popular music and exquisite two-handed piano playing at its very best.